Wednesday, February 08, 2017

fake news and passing it on

One of the bigger problems of our time in history is separating false facts from true ones. This is especially true in social media, which really gained power during the Obama years as it was not a major factor even in the Bush Presidency. There are so many sites and they can look like real newspapers; but if you go further, you find they are not. This link is just one example.

I had seen that one on Facebook and thought how unfair... but if you read the link, you find those photos weren't what they seemed. Facebook is bad for this as many there pass on whatever suits what they already believe. Outrage feeds on outrage

A good example of that was another story that I also read off Facebook, where a person I trust posted it about the state where she lives. We who don't live there had no way to know that the state had no county where the event happened. We also didn't  know that the newspaper in yet another state is one known for fake news. She had not checked it because she believed it possible. Snopes declared the information to be false. They are so busy now that it must be hard to keep ahead of the sites. In comments, someone else said that phony site was known to also have a virus or malware connected to it.

Since I had read the article, I then had to get a new virus checker (fortunately I hadn't been infected).

Sometimes the sites get deleted like the one following, but often they pop up again with some variance in the info.

What can we do about it? I'd suggest getting all your info from actual newspapers and even then look for it more than one place. They also can make mistakes or print things that suit their prejudices. If you do find yourself addicted to the Facebook sites, double check with Snopes to see if the story is anywhere else. Often they are not-- or only on rabid left or right sites where they got it from the same fake news source.

This one shows up claiming it happened various places. How can you not believe a video? How about when it came from a movie.

Here's the thing, when people, who are genuinely outraged, repeat all these stories, they are part of the problem. There is an industry built around finding stories that will horrify people, that will validate their worse fears. The way our country is being portrayed, I am shocked anyone wants to come here but that's obviously not the case from countries where far worse is actually going on.

Sometimes the stories cannot be validated by Snopes. When the accusation is that mainstream media is not covering a lot of what is happening, how do we figure it out for something like the following where there are two sides. Did someone throw an explosive device at her or was she holding one or too close to one that her side was using? How do you figure it out? Sometimes even the law has a hard time.

One thing is don't pass on anything that suits your prejudices without verifying it multiple places-- unless your rage is so great that even a lie suits you.

There is an irony in this. Before the election, I saw the most outraged posts at Facebook from righties who saw Obama as a dictator taking us toward bankruptcy as a nation, not protecting us, stealing ranchers' lands, and setting up regulations to force businesses to go bankrupt. They were convinced he would declare martial law to stay on as President. Now, hardly anything from them as they are satisfied, for the most part, and it's all lefties with one post of outrage and fear after another.

With the ability people have to use their phones to record what happens, we still have to look for the info other places as what is to stop someone from faking the event to create outrage? How can we tell after it's been thrown onto YouTube with no other facts to support it? Something like that can go viral in no time at all. There are those who believe creating such fake news will benefit their cause. There are those who make money from creating them. 

Fake news does not help anyone who genuinely is concerned about what is truth.


Rain Trueax said...

All of the above links were from Snopes. They really do go above and beyond to try and track down what actually happened.

Wally Blue said...

I have a family member that thinks Snopes is false and totally biased toward the left. She continually passes on some of the most patently absurd political memes on Facebook and when I try to call her on it and encourage her to investigate these things she counters by saying its too difficult to find the truth. There is a verse in the Bible that I like and find to be true in these times: "Light came into the world but men loved darkness more than light." (my paraphrase) Something has gone wrong. Look at the intellectual and technological advances that have occurred throughout history and yet, here in modern times, the majority of humans prefer to believe nonsense. They allow their world view to be manipulated by political ideology and religious dogma and never realize how the human condition is suffering for it. I know I've become a pessimistic and cynical old codger but I don't see much hope for peace and prosperity in the world we live in today. And it's all because humans are so easily and willfully fooled.

Rain Trueax said...

It would be the left to not want to believe those posts as liberals are very hyped on the idea that the government is doing horrible things at Standing Rock. Some might be true but those particular analyses went into the places the photos had come from.

I've decided that being a moderate is also a political party but we need a name. A moderate who leans left and one who leans right have more in common with each other (even disagreeing on some issues) than with the left or the right. We can usually disagree with each other without rancor also. I want a name for moderate that makes sense for what it is-- how about free thinkers lol That would irk left and right.

Wally Blue said...

For years I've been calling myself a Radical Middle of the Roader

Rain Trueax said...

radical middle of the roader works for me and also made me laugh :)

Celia said...

I've become a very careful reader and poster over the years. We do need a third or even a fourth party. I guess I would be a left leaning moderate. Inside our circle of family and friends we can mostly work out our differences. Civil discourse carries the day for most of us. I do think peaceful public protest is an arm of civil discourse.

Rain Trueax said...

I think peaceful demonstrations are fine also. Mostly though the ones doing it are already in the choir. What changes things is a speaker like Martin Luther King Jr. who could get across the truth in a way that inspired. We also need people to run who are moderates. We are the ones being pushed out and leaders come from both extremes. We need a third party made up of moderates who may not agree on all issues but do agree on logic as being necessary as well as responsibility for what we want.